Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar Reserve

I Love This Time of Year at Circle B!

I spent Sunday morning with The Beast at the Circle B Bar Reserve. It was hard to decide whether to head out to the marsh to catch the Bald Eagles flying with nesting material, or head to the lake to see the bobcat. The cloudless skies and great morning light made me decide on the marsh. I didn’t get many views of the eagles, but I did enjoy the time with the little birds.

A lot of people are surprised when they see how high the vegetation is on the sides of the Heron Hideout trail. We need a good frost! There is one leafy green plant in the marsh right now that has put up all sorts of green reeds, and on the tips of the reeds are purple flowers. Those must be full of seeds, because all the birds are going nuts over them.

I saw no less than TEN Purple Gallinules climbing the reeds and eating the seeds. (Most people are excited to see one!) Most of the Purple Gallinules were adults, but a few juveniles were showing off their pale colors. I laughed as the birds hopped around on the reeds, hanging on with those big feet of theirs. A couple of times a bird would venture too far out on the reed, to the point where the reed couldn’t hold the bird’s weight, and the bird would take a little ride to the ground. I stood there marveling at all the gallinules, when two Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks flew by. WHOOSH!! In a split second, every single Purple Gallinule had hopped off his reed down to the cover of the ground below. Did their mothers ever teach them the difference between harmless ducks and big bad raptors?

As I watched the gallinules, I heard a loud fussing coming from deep within a bush near me. I kept an eye out, and eventually two Sedge Wrens emerged from the brush. They teased me and made me think they would come out to the open to pose, but they didn’t. So I tried to get The Beast to focus through the branches. I was happy to see that one of the resulting images was with the bird’s mouth open as he fussed. How appropriate.

The little Palm Warblers were all over the place this morning. The one was really pretty as he looked at me in the great morning light.

I was talking with a friend when I noticed a small bird hop into the top branches of the Treasure Tree. He looked too yellow to be a Palm Warbler, and as I got my camera focused on him, I realized I was looking at a female Baltimore Oriole, the first one I’ve seen at Circle B. How cool!

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

I finally tore myself away from the morning light and headed to the Alligator Alley trail in search of the bobcat. By this point it was 10am and lots of people were out enjoying the nice weather. I took some pictures of the small birds on the trailside, but every two minutes someone would jog or ride their bike by, scaring away my bird. I realized that I would never see the bobcat with so many people, so I headed home. But I did get a nice parting shot of an Eastern Phoebe. :)

Bird Species List (29 total): American Coot, Anhinga, Bald Eagle, Baltimore Oriole, Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, Blue Jay, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Blue-Winged Teal, Boat-tailed Grackle, Common Gallinule, Common Yellowthroat, Double-Crested Cormorant, Eastern Phoebe, Glossy Ibis, Gray Catbird, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, House Wren, Indigo Bunting, Little Blue Heron, Palm Warbler, Purple Gallinule, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Red-winged Blackbird, Swamp Sparrow (FOF), Tricolored Heron, White Ibis, Wood Stork

FOF = First of Fall